The Game Boy is an 8-bit handheld video game device developed and manufactured by Nintendo, which was released in Japan on April 21, 1989, in North America on July 31, 1989, and in Europe on September 28, 1990. It is the first handheld console in the Game Boy line, and was created by Gunpei Yokoi and Nintendo Research & Development 1—the same staff who had designed the Game & Watch series as well as several popular games for the Nintendo Entertainment System. Redesigned versions were released in 1996 and 1998, in the form of Game Boy Pocket, and Game Boy Light (Japan only), respectively.
The GameBoy was the first video game console played in outer space – Tetris was played on it by Russian astronaut Aleksander Serebov during one of his trips into space. This GameBoy was later sold for over $1,000 in a 2011 auction.
The idea for the GameBoy came in 1979. Gunpei Yokoi, its developer, was watching a man on a metro line play with his handheld calculator in a very bored manner, randomly pushing buttons to pass the time, making Yokoi release the utility in a handheld game console. This idea was partially realized in the Game & Watch series of games from 1980 onward, but his original plans and designs came into being with the GameBoy in the late 1980s.
Nintendo’s Japan-exclusive GameBoy Light model of the GameBoy console was actually the first Nintendo handheld to use backlit-screens, something not seen again until the GameBoy Advance SP’s release.
During the Persian Gulf War (1990-1991), an explosion in a soldier’s barracks ultimately affected a GameBoy console. The GameBoy console suffered significant cosmetic damage and was very clearly burned and warped, but was very much still playable, which was a testament to how sturdy the console was. This console is still functioning even today, and is – at this time – on display at the Nintendo World Store in New York City.
In production of the Game Boy, it was called the Dot Matrix Game, hence the DMG code on every Game Boy game.
The Game Boy is the only Nintendo handheld console(aside from the DS) that does not have a Pokemon game as its best-seller.